Yesterday, Apple committed to spending $2.5B on improving access to housing in California.
Housing crises exist all across California, but they’ve been particularly acute in Apple’s backyard, the San Francisco Bay Area: According to a recent report reviewed by The New York Times, 5 of the 6 most expensive places to live in the US are in the Bay Area.
Thanks to soaring fortunes at tech companies, the Bay Area has added 676k new jobs in the past 8 years. But the region has added only 176k additional housing units, which has caused displacement.
And Apple, the largest employer in Silicon Valley, has been a big part of the problem.
But now, Apple wants to reverse its role in the housing crisis
So, how does it plan to do that? Apple’s newly unveiled plan will apportion $1B to an affordable housing investment fund and another $1B to help first-time home buyers (particularly service workers, school employees, and veterans).
The iPhone-making colossus also plans to make $300m of Apple-owned land available for affordable housing, donate $150m to a local housing nonprofit, and invest $50m in fighting homelessness in Silicon Valley.
And Apple’s not the only Silicon Valley giant investing in housing:
- Google pledged $1B in land and housing in June
- Facebook gave $1B in grants, land, and loans in October
- Salesforce founder Marc Benioff personally pledged $30m to fight homelessness in San Francisco
Other companies including Microsoft and Amazon have also begun investing big bucks in addressing the housing problems that they helped create. But not all critics believe investment in fixing crises after they come is the best approach.
Affording housing expert Robert Silverman told The New York Times that plans like Apple’s “definitely relieve some of the pressure on the housing market,” but that comprehensive state and federal policies are necessary to “reach more people.”